Wicked Wednesday: Endurance Tests

The Boston Marathon is over. Twenty-six and two-tenths of a mile. Training for such a run takes endurance, and finishing it does, too, especially this year when finishers imagine (or remember) the bombs that two young men allegedly set at the final yards of the race a year ago.

The Wickeds are talking about our own endurance challenges over the years (and some might have lasted years).

Edith: I actually ran the Boston Marathon in 1998 (for the first and last time). I trained and IMG_3675trained and trained. After a certain level of fitness, running is almost more of a mental challenge. Yes, I can run two more miles. No, I’m won’t stop and walk, not untiI I reach the top of the hill. Sort of like writing a book. Yes, I can write another scene today. No, I will not stop to check Facebook or put in a load of laundry until I’ve met my 1000-word goal.

I trained and ran the marathon with a good friend, which made all the difference, but the farthest we had run in our training was twenty miles. Harold and I pulled and pushed each other along the route on Marathon Monday, and during the last mile we got through it by counting out loud in Japanese, startling more than one bystander. But we crossed that fabulous finish line in five hours, sixteen minutes, with smiles on our face.

IMG_4539_2Sherry: I’m a walker not a runner. My most challenging walk was when we were stationed in Monterey, California. At the time there was a walk in association with the Big Sur International Marathon. Once a year, for the marathon, they close one lane of the Pacific Coast Highway. One of the most beautiful drives in America. My friend, Stacey, convinced me to do the walk with her. We did some training — our longest walks around five miles on the hills of the Naval Post Graduate School housing area, La Mesa.

IMG_4545The morning of the walk we got up at four and Bob dropped us off in Carmel. From there we took a bus to the starting area. The morning was cool and a bit foggy when we started. There were musicians all over the course. Driving PCH is spectacular but walking it was breathtaking. A soap opera star ran by us — his rugged good looks intact. We did the two additional spurs of the walk for a total of 11and 1/2 miles. Just when I thought I couldn’t make it some drummers and dancers spurred us on. It’s one of my fondest memories among many from living in Monterey.

Jessie: I think one of my proudest endurance challenges is parenting. With four kids, each spaced four years apart, I have been actively parenting for a lot of years. It is a venture that never ceases to challenge and amaze me and although the responsibilities change over time, they never really end, for which I am very grateful.

Julie: I did a half marathon a few years back. I will never forget driving with my sister right before my first long run (10 miles). It was 10 miles to the next exit, so we agreed to see how long that was. We were driving for a long time, and she leaned over and said “this was a mistake, wasn’t it?” I did finish the training, and did the run. A big accomplishment I never plan on repeating. Occasional 10Ks maybe, but I am awed by long distance runners.

My other endurance test? Getting my first novel finished. 7 years. It is in a drawer. Another blog post for another day.

Barb: It seems like I’ve spent half my life saying to people, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” I’ve said it about building businesses, I’ve said it about writing books, getting books published, supporting books. Raising children is a good one, Jessie. Life. If you’re lucky, it’s a marathon.

me and julieLiz: I’m no marathoner, Edith, but I did complete two 5K obstacle course races last year. I’m usually not a runner, but I felt like I needed to do these. And they were great! One was with Julie 🙂 Another one coming up this year. And like Julie, my latest novel has been a huge test of endurance. Oy.

Readers: What’s been your most difficult, or most successful, endurance challenge?

17 thoughts on “Wicked Wednesday: Endurance Tests

  1. I have to say school. My disability almost killed school for me. I just refused to give up.

    Before I acquired my mobility problem I liked to run. I had run with my family at a local track, but when I started graduate school I stopped running and thou thought I would return to it after graduation. After a few years it was obvious I was going to be there forever.

    With the encouragement of my neurologist I started a walking program that I intended to expand into running so that I could run the London Marathon with my friends in Epilepsy Action, an epilepsy society in the UK. The reason I say this was the hardest challenge for me is because I couldn’t do it. The more I walked, the weaker I got. I was very out of shape, and my doctors didn’t believe me—at first, that I was walking and later that I couldn’t walk further than a block.

    My neurologist advised me to start slower and write my dissertation notes into a recording device as I walked. He thought that would distract me, as if boredom were my problem or that I would rather be doing statistics. Really? I He is a good guy. I still have the dictation recorder. I never got to use it, because after a few months I couldn’t walk across the street.

    I want to say very quickly here that after almost 10 years I am able to walk again, and I can use my hands and arms freelly. This is a surprise that wasn’t supposed to happen, and it happened very quickly. I was supposed to get worse. But I’m getting better. It’s been a marathon of sorts.

      • I’m not sure it’s harder, because my motivation is almost a necessity. When I was running, each time was a clear choice. With a severe mobility impairment you almost have no choice, unless you give up on living. But if you can improve and do better, the payoff is a tremendous high. 🙂

  2. I’ve run one half marathon. Somewhere in the back of my mind is the desire to do another one, but first I have to get my knee to heal up. That’s a marathon right there, especially when I keep signing up for mud runs and playing ultimate frisbee….

    The last three miles of the half were all mental. I’d run the distance once before in training and knew i could finish, but the two days before the race had been spent at Disneyland, so my legs were pretty tired.

    Then there was Tough Mudder. That was only 10 miles, but the 5000 foot elevation killed me since I wasn’t used to it. Then there was the course, which went up and down and up and down and up and down. Did i mention the up and down? We gained 1000 feet in elevation before it was over, but we didn’t go straight up or down. I walked that more than I wanted to (I’d been training for it and the half at the same time). It took me longer than the half marathon did. BUT I FINISHED!!!!

  3. My partner’s cancer has been an endurance test for her, which I share as best i can. Diagnosed in 2001, we went through the chemo, surgery, more chemo, radiation, more chemo routine and hoped for the best. That was a long haul. After a few years of NED (no evidence of disease, which is the only thing they would say at the time for this type of cancer), it returned – of all things, it actually reopened her initial surgical line – that’s the only way she knew something was wrong. More surgery, more chemo (no radiation – she’d had more than enough the first time), and we’ve been at it constantly since then. On chemo more than off, with a few months break in between from time to time. She’s been on Herceptin for the last 7 years throughout all the chemo because it helps keep things in check. [Herceptin is a hormonal treatment, not chemo.]

    So, how does she do it? How does she keep her spirits up, her great sense of humor, and weather it all? First, the treatment team has become part of the family. We actually miss them when we’re on a break. Second, she researches everything. Her oncology doc will start to say something about a different drug they might try and then stop herself, “Oh, you already know that, don’t you?” They get along wonderfully. And they consider me part of the treatment, too. I’m there, get my own treatment chair (I cannot sit in a waiting room chair for 3 or 4 hours or more with my back), am part of every discussion, we exchange recipes and favorite books (I’ve given our oncology nurse an autographed copy of Edith’s first book – Speaking of Murder). Pat reads, I read – sometimes bring my work with me, or watch TV.

    But I think what matters most is her presence of mind. She’s stubborn and she’s positive. She doesn’t want any pity parties. The first thing she said after meeting the oncology doctor for the first time was, “When we beat this thing.” Not if – When. That matters. And each response above shows the same thing. Your mind creates the space for your success.

    I do believe the power of positive thinking is tremendous and that’s what keeps us going.

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